The Need for Power Generation Diversity within Virginia
Over the past few decades, Virginia has been among the fastest growing economies in the United States due in large part to its business-friendly regulations, low cost of doing business and balanced labor laws. Reliability and affordability of energy has been a significant driver of those advantages. A well thought out bipartisan energy policy helped ensure energy rates remained competitive.
With advances in technology, renewable sources have become a part of the energy supply mix to varying degrees throughout the United States. Virginia too has experienced growth in renewables, largely via solar energy due to an historic absence of meaningful wind energy development.
Renewable resources have a place in a diversified portfolio of generation resources necessary to support economic growth. However, regardless of the pace of replacing older and less efficient fossil based generation with renewables, until significant advances are made in energy storage technologies, renewables will be impacted by their intermittent delivery. Reliable advances in storage technology in terms of cost and scale are perhaps decades away. Therefore, it is critical to recognize the importance of options within the supply portfolio. Diversity of supply provides balance critical to the delivery of reliability and economics to the marketplace. Over reliance on any single generation supply source, renewable, fossil or nuclear, introduces uncertainty and risk to the sustainability of economic growth going forward.
Chickahominy Power is being developed as a component of a diversified and vibrant supply for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the broader geographic region it helps support. In selecting Mitsubishi’s 501 JAC class turbines Chickahominy Power will be deploying the most advanced technology in the world, delivering reliable power with an emission profile far below all Federal and State emissions regulations. Moreover, the same turbines can also accommodate the recently announced ability to use up to 30% hydrogen as a “green” fuel. Chickahominy Power plans to utilize this capability as and when reliable and affordable sources of ‘Green H2’become commercially available.
You can learn more about the remarkable technological advances being made by Mitsubishi by watching this video: https://youtu.be/DSmhW2d9N4A
Chickahominy Power is proud to play a role in ensuring that Virginia continues to advance toward a less carbon intensive but diversified supply of highly efficient and reliable energy needed to propel its economy into the future.
Dominion Zone is one of the fastest growing zones in PJM
Note: (1) PJM 2020 Load Forecast Report – Summer peak growth rate CAGR 2020-2030; (2) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of December 2019
The Dominion Zone covers approximately 30,000 square miles of Virginia and North Carolina
- The Project will be located outside of Richmond, VA, which has long been an area of economic growth (over 6% growth since 2010)
- Since 2010, the Virginia population has grown by 5.1%, reaching an estimated 8.4 million residents. The state has grown faster than the nation as a whole, which grew by 4.7% over the same period
- The VA unemployment rate is 0.9% below the U.S. national average of 3.5% as of 2019 year end(2)
- PJM’s 2020 Load Analysis forecast highlights Dominion Zone (DOM) as the one of the fastest growing zones in PJM
- In its 2020 forecast, PJM increased its 10/15-year peak demand CAGR projection for the Dominion Zone by 20% in its 2020 Load Forecast compared to the 2019 Load Forecast. The primary driver for this adjustment was “increase in PJM’s data center forecast”
Robust data center additions drive load growth – 200-500 MW expected annually until 2033
- Low-latency connections to the national fiber network backbone along with a relatively business-friendly environment make Virginia the top market for data centers serving the area’s biggest public and private companies
- Facebook has completed the first phase of a $750 million data center in the White Oak Technology Park in eastern Henrico County
- Completion of a 4,000 mile long “MAREA’ subsea fiber optic cable connecting Bilbao (Spain) to Virginia Beach, jointly developed by Facebook and Microsoft, and will have positive implications for further data center development in eastern Virginia. Seven more subsea cables landing in VA under development
- Growing interest for companies in data center located in Virginia because of its proximity to fiber optic networks as well as low-cost, reliable power sources
- While many large technology firms have stated their data centers are “100% carbon neutral” it is important to recognize that they typically comply with this claim by ‘buying’ renewable energy credits (“REC’s) and rely on the reliability of the local power grid, whose power is provided by a diversified portolio of supply options (inclusive of fossil sources) to meet their need for uninterruptable power supply during those times when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.
- PJM expects between 200-500MW of new data center demand added annually for the Dominion Zone until 2033
- Dominion’s projected load growth, driven by robust data center additions, is expected to increasingly diverge from the rest of PJM
- The forecast of the DOM zone has been adjusted to account for substantial on‐going growth in data center construction, which removes 96 MW from the summer peak in 2020, then adds 39 MW in 2021, growing to 510 MW in 2026 before declining to 234 MW in 2035
Sources: Virginia Economic Development website, DOM 2018 IRP Note: (1) PJM 2020 Load Forecast Report